Book Review: ‘An Unexpected Brew’ by JE Mueller

The concept of coffee being magical is not a new one by any means, but how good would it be if a barista could brew a bit of luck or confidence into your next cup? Similarly, the tale of Cinderella is not new, but this adaptation of the story has qualities that are original and different. It is an unexpected and delightful brew indeed. 

The author has given the old story a new setting and context, and provided some interesting twists to keep readers guessing. 

The characters have been reinvented so that they are quite original, yet recognisable and true to the conventions of the much-loved fairy tale. The central characters are likeable and relatable, and their interactions are natural and engaging. 

The target audience is YA, but it is a story that will be appealing for a much broader readership. This is a really fun and engaging read.

Book Review: ‘The Lady Of The Mist’ by WC Quick

If you have ever suspected that the ‘happy ever after’ of fairy tales wasn’t actually true? 

This is a dark fantasy sequel to Cinderella that brings with it a very different set of premises than those suggested by the ending of the popular children’s fairy tale. 

Written with dark humour and a strong sense of irony, this is a fairy tale for the cynical and subversive. 

An entertaining short read, ‘Lady Of The Mist’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.  

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘Bitter Beauty’ by Aliya DalRae

Another excellent addition to the Fallen Cross Pack paranormal series by Aliya DalRae.

We all know that life can change in an instant, and that those changes can be hard to reconcile while we’re getting used to them.  This is the situation that Butch Montgomery, second in command in the Fallen Cross Pack, finds himself dealing with in ‘Bitter Beauty’. 

A chance encounter with a  new and different wolf triggers a whole lot of changes in the way Butch sees the world, and a shift of perspective for both himself and the stranger as the story unfolds. 

Part of Aliya DalRae’s excellent Fallen Cross Pack series, this novella was first published in the brilliant fantasy/fairy tale anthology  titled Once Upon A Fabulous Time, and is now available as a standalone story. 
As an aside, if you’re a fan of reimagined fairy tales and fantasy stories, this anthology is well worth reading.

The story is well written, populated with likeable characters and filled with well-constructed moments of tension that really drive the momentum of the story. If werewolves and paranormal romance are your “thing”, you’ll love this book. 

‘Bitter Beauty’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘The 12 Terrors of Christmas’ by Claudette Melanson

A great holiday read for anyone more interested in “boo” than “ho ho ho”… but definitely not for kids.

What if your most basic assumptions bout Santa turned out to be wrong?

Is he just a jolly old fat guy who delivers presents, or is there much, much more to his story?

Claudette Melanson presents a somewhat different version of Santa in these twelve stories, which are well-crafted and well told. There is some lovely connectivity between the stories, which is sometimes quite overt and at other times sneaks up on the reader and takes them by surprise.

This is a great holiday read for anyone more interested in “boo” than “ho ho ho”.  Do take the title seriously, though: this book is definitely not for kids, as there is some quite graphic content.

‘The 12 Terrors of Christmas’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘The Swan Princes: A Christmas Tail’ by Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel

An excellent 21st Century retelling of an old tale.

This novella is a contemporary retelling of the classic Swan Lake story.

The well known story has been cleverly recreated in a contemporary setting and style, with a variety of great characters that have been developed very cleverly and with good attention to detail.  The best stories have characters that you love and others that you love to hate, and this book does not disappoint. 

It’s great to see this story being given new life in a way that is is well-written and very enjoyable. It blends mystery, fantasy, romance and magical realism quite seamlessly to deliver a story that is very engaging and delivers some strong lessons about family, loyalty, and the power of love. 

‘The Swan Princes’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: Born Into Chaos by Lily Lamb

A blend of fantasy, paranormal and fairy tale in one powerful story.

A Drew Born Into Chaos‘Born Into Chaos’ is a compelling story of love, loss, abuse of power and retribution. Spanning centuries and drawing on folklore and legend, and with a touch of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ too, the story of the halfling Adamas unfolds as one in which he must discover his destiny and work to fulfil it in order to find peace and resolve the pain of the past.

This is a really enjoyable read that blends fantasy, paranormal and fairy tale and, as fairy tales tend to do, delivers some important lessons about the meaning of life along the way.

Acorn Award II Silver

For these reasons, ‘Born Into Chaos’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Watery Kingdom’ by Raven M Williams

Enjoyable and fun, but a bit too quick in the telling.

51qy1YkUTDL‘The Watery Kingdom’ is a transformation of the story of The Little Mermaid.

As a reader who really appreciates short stories, I found this story to be quite enjoyable and fun, although perhaps a little too short. Because the style of the writing is quite succinct, and because the story is written in present tense, it feels at times as though the reader is being hurried through the story. The story and its characters would have benefited from a little more description and development, so that the reader had more time and opportunity to become fond of the heroes and learn to really despise the villain before the end of the story.

I really liked the character of James and his role in twisting the classic tales, but once again, this part of the story would benefit from some more depth and detail.Acorn Award III Bronze

‘The Watery Kingdom’ has been awarded a Bronze Acorn.

You can find your copy here.